tv [untitled] January 13, 2013 10:30pm-11:00pm PST
my name is chris stevens, i'm the new u.s. ambassador to libya. i had the honor to serve as the envoy to the libyan revolution and i was thrilled to watch the libyan people stand up and demand their rights. now i'm excited to return to libya to continue the great work we've started, building a solid partnership between the united states and libya to help you the libyan people achieve your goals. right now i'm in washington, preparing for my assignment. as i walk around the monuments and memorials
commemorating the courageous men and women that made america what it is, i'm reminded we too went through challenging periods, when america was divided by a bitter civil war 150 years ago. president abraham lincoln had the vision to pull us together toward a shared goal of peace and prosperity. growing up in california i didn't know much about the arab world. then after graduating from the university of california at berkeley, i traveled to north africa as peace corps engineer. i worked as an english teacher in morocco two years and quickly grew to love this part of the world. since joining the service i spent almost my entire career in middle east and africa. one of the things that impressed me were people old enough to have lived and traveled in the united states when we had closer relations. those days are back.
we had 1,700 libyans apply for fullbright grants to study in the united states this year, more than any other country in the world. we know that libya is still recovering from an intense period of conflict. there are many courageous libyans who bear the scars of that battle. we are happy we have been able to treat some of your war wounded at u.s. hospitals. we look forward to building partnerships between american and libyan hospitals to help return libya's healthcare system to the extraordinary standards of excellence it once enjoyed. over my shoulder here you can see the u.s. capitol building. in that building 535 elected representatives from every corner of america come together to debate the issues of the day. they are men and women from every religious, ethnic and family background. i look forward to watching libya develop equally strong institutions of government. education and healthcare are just two of the many areas where i see opportunities for close
partnership between the united states and libya. i look forward to exploring those as we work together to build a free democratic prosperous libya. see you soon. good afternoon, everyone. i'm an san francisco mayor ed lee. i want to welcome you from the bay area, from all over the country to san francisco's city hall. today we honor and celebrate ambassador john christopher stevens in this civic celebration of his life. i thank the stevens family for hosting this celebration here. amongst his many friends, his family, his colleagues from around the world who continue to reremember and
celebrate his distinguished life and sacrifice he made for all of us. while we have lost a true hero to our nation, his accomplishments and generosity lives on in all the places he that served, promoting mutual respect and cooperation in international relationships. ambassador stevens is an inspiration to all of us. i did something personally. i texted my daughters who also grew up in the bay area. they have always reminded me that they love being san franciscans. now as young adults they pride themselves in being
world citizens. this is that place. san francisco and the bay area, where we have our attitudes and evolve ourselves to be not only great san francisco and bay area citizens but the inter national status of our city and bay area promote us to be world citizens. i'm pride to be mayor of a city that embraces peace, diversity and leading in equity, acceptance and tolerance. we will always be inter national city that promotes peace in an effort to make our world a more inclusive place for all. our city will always remember ambassador stevens as a hero who served all americans and we will always remember his vision
and leadership. he simply made the world a better place for all of us. thank you for being here today. >> i'm anne stevens, chris's sister. tom, his brother. hillary, our little sister. we want to extend a warm welcome to the family, friends and many distinguished officials in attendance. thank you for being here. we are honored for your presence. thanks to mayor lee for allowing us to gather and to the protocol and special events team and many
organizations and individuals who have offered extraordinary assistance to our family during this difficult time. our parents asked us to speak for the family to talk about growing up with chris. i think overall the greatest thing we can appreciate about chris is how much fun, how clever, how witty he was, how he made us all smile and laugh. i can testify chris was a mischievous little guy from the very beginning, as i was usually the target of his pranks. he set my bassinet on fire with a magnifying mirror. at 4 he backed me up into a red hot bathroom heater, resulting in a bottom burn and er visit in the middle of the night. at seven he led me off the trail, shooting into the
creek in davis. my nickname was chubbs or woman. chris caused me a lot of trouble. so why do i mishim so much? chris was a huge presence in our family, so he lived far away, had a lot of friends, had a very challenging job, he always came home. when he came home for the christmas or wedding or baby showers, he was really there. he wasn't texting. running, playing tennis, eating, drinking, telling stories and extracting our stories. his interest made us each feel very special. he believed in the value of every person's stories. once he visited me in seattle. i took him to visit an elderly friend in a nursing home. as we waited, chris started wandering, chatting up the other residents in their
wheelchairs. soon he came back and said, anne, you have to meet this guy. he is a judge. he has the best history, so interesting. we would get into an elevator in the department store. by the time we got off he would be chatting with the other riders in french. [ laughter] >> where did this come from? i think from our grandfather, chief stevens. known for his wide-eyed optimism he was a popular grass valley high school history teacher, very famous for telling stories and jokes. we would go to the grocery store or coffee shop and he would know everyone there and have a story and joke for each person. chris really took to this. i can picture him in the markets of cairo, joking with vendors, smiling, enjoying their stories. chris was chief stevens gone global. [ laughter] >> but chris was also a perfect blend of father and
mother. a deep appreciation of history, newspapers, beau. gilbert and sullivan, p.g. woodhouse and nature. like dad he loved to experience through hiking, mount tam, at lan, barvarian alps. one summer i had a job at signal mountain lodge in the tee tons. he came to visit and read nick adams stories. now is now is now. inspired, he signed on for a job. long after school chris was still there, immersed in the culture. not only hiking, fishing and camping but hunting elk. hard to believe. one of the last times i was with chris we took a long run through the trails of walnut creek. he was reading a book of how to keep running as we enter our later years. giving me pep talks in how to drag myself out of bed in cold, dark mornings for
that run. i was inspired. through mom he learned the value of visiting a foreign country. the importance of talking to people in their own language. when he was a comfortable piedmont high schooler playing tennis and drinking beer -- sorry -- [ laughter] >> mom signed him up for the american field service. she thought he might be sent to brazil to work in sugar cane fields or build la betweens, a character building experience, but chris, leading the charmed life, spent the summer polishing spainer and paella. he spoke italian and air back and encouraged me to study germany, learn italian to communicate in tu knee sha and learn spanish to speak with my patients. i saw the world through his eyes. i remember walking into a restaurant in cairo and the waiter saying something in arabic to chris. he chuckled and translated.
when you walk in, the whole room lights up. was that just chris or beauty of the arab language or how perfectly they understood each other? chris incorporated the wonderful values of our parents and shared these with the world. he's always been with me. he was the first to see my stand in the crib. he probably taught me to walk. he set the standards for our family really high and brought wonderful friends into our lives, friends who are like brothers and sisters to us now. chris was my most important mentor. he showed me how. so it is not important who your mother is only, not just important who your father is but very important who your big brother is. we had the best. the world needs a lot more big brothers like chris stevens.
>> i am tom stevens, to give you the little brother perspective. two points. i would like to comment somewhat on some of the early development of his diplomatic skills. you have heard in the past several weeks why he was a good diplomat. i think there are some things you haven't heard that you might be interested in. secondly, on a more serious note, how his personality and mentoring of my big brother possibly affected my life. in a lot of the media reports, a man of the people, peace and love. all that is true, not denying any of that. but there's a different skill set also required. that is the power of subtle persuasion. you have to be able to convince someone to do something that is not
necessarily in that person's best interest yet make that person think he is doing something great. he developed those at an early age. i have some examples for you. he never once yelled at me. i never saw him yell at anybody. never saw him hit anybody. though he is my big brother, he never hit me. not once. however, he was able to convince me i had been insulted so agregiously and should be so enraged that i should launch into a physical assault. on him? no, no. on her. that was the power of subtle persuasion. to this day nobody can figure out what he allegedly did to deserve this. i'm sorry about that.
there's a saying. clothes make the man. naked people have little or no influence on society. sure we have all heard that. most people have a strong inclination, proclivity to remain closed in public, though there are certain exceptions in certain neighborhoods, we don't need to get into that. however such were powers he had of subtle persuasion that he convinced me as a 5-year-old to do the following. one, pull off my clothing. two, put on a ski mask. three, streak through the neighbor's family room while they were in there watching tv on a random suburban weeknight. so the power of subtle pers wake indeed. on a more serious and less embarrassing note, he was a relentlessly positive and
hopeful person. the best was always to come. he was a golden guy who foresaw a golden future and very humble. he taught me over the years to stay positive, whether it be all life's big milestones, the schools, jobs. don't say it that way, think this way. if you think that way will it happen. that was his perspective. one example of the most trivial things he stayed positive about is registration tickers or car decals, you only get one shot at those things. stick it on there. if you mess it up, forget it. of course i messed it up, out there showing him the car, lamenting. he said no, you are looking at this all wrong. you see, what this is -- this he was reaching and struggling. but he said, no. it is a sign of human
fraility, you see. so i'm suddenly proud i would be able to drive around and show off my human fraility to everybody. that is the kind of thing he was able to spin and make positive. finally he was humble. he was the epitome of the saying, it is amazing how much can be accomplished when nobody cares who gets the credit. he had so many professional achievements, yet he never talked about them. he cared about other people. so i hope that you ask yourselves what would the world be like if only a fraction had the mind set he had. stay humble, positive and do it right. he definitely did it right. in conclusion he was not an overly emotional person. that extended to the way he
said goodbye. he was calm and instead. it was always shake hands, see you next time. no matter where he was going, see you when i come back. that is the way we left it in may of this year, the last time i saw him. so now that it is time to say goodbye, i don't see any reason to deviate from that custom. so my big brother, my best friend, i will see you next time. i'm hill ri stevens, or as my family calls me h.i. i was born when he was 20. mine were not related to diplomacy. as a toddler he would send me on missions, which i was a willing accomplice. he sent me to stick carrots up my younger brothers nose as he slept in on christmas morning. that was really fun.
growing up i was always able to brag that i had a brother in a foreign country. i got to visit him in these places. we road camels around pyramids in egypt, bathed in tunisia, snorkled in sinai and danced in israeli discos. in libya i played tennis with the daughter of his libyan tennis coach, learned about medical school in libya and jogged through the ruins. but, as we said, chris always came home and entertained us when he did. i worked hard to sharpen tennis and skiiing skills. i was proud the year chris said you ski faster than the master. [ laughter] >> we got up early to be the first on the ski lift. at my wedding he said he would be happy by to
perform a libyan liberation dance to celebrate the success of the revolution. [ laughter] >> he inspired me to travel and work inter nationally. i filled out an application for the peace corp. during my senior year because he had. he taught english in morocco. i taught math. we talked about the joys of living and working over seas. we spoke french together. later he helped me get an assignment with a pediatric a.i.d.s. group. now i work in a county hospital in stockton caring for patients from all over the world. like chris, i am genuinely interested in listening to their stories and learning about their lives. i was really hoping he would still be here. i dreamt of someday working as a detector in a country where he was ambassador.
i was looking forward to showing off my growing new family. our daughter was born in april. chris got to hold her before leaving for his post in libya. as our father said best at 5 a.m. on september 12th, he made it to the top. he tried his best. he was a great brother. i couldn't agree more. [applause]